Researchers have announced the discovery of at least four new species of bats. The study — in a special issue of the journal ZooKeys focused on the coronavirus pandemic — describes four new species of African leaf-nosed bats. The bats are members of the family Hipposideridae, a vast family of bats spread throughout Africa, Asia, and Australasia that includes horseshoe bats in China, which are believed to have served as hosts of the virus that caused COVID-19.
“We owe it to ourselves to learn more about them and their relatives,” said Bruce Patterson, the Field Museum’s MacArthur curator of mammals and the paper’s lead author. These new species don’t have official names yet, and researchers say they offer a glimpse at how much we still have to learn about Africa’s bats.